Olifants Back Packing Trail, Kruger National Park

Commencing from Olifants Camp, this trail stretches over four days and three nights, covering about 42 km. The trail does not include any overnight huts, therefore hikers must bring their own tents to sleep in.

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  • Duration: 4 Days
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Description

Commencing from Olifants Camp, this trail stretches over four days and three nights, covering about 42 km. The trail does not include any overnight huts, therefore hikers must bring their own tents to sleep in. The trail leader will choose a suitable camp site each night, and participants will be responsible for setting up their own tents and carrying/cooking their own food.

The first day's hike is quite an easy one of only 4-5 km to a camp site. For the remaining days, hikes will rise at the break of dawn to complete the first stretch of that day's hike. During the maximum heat of day, no walking will take place, and a siesta can be enjoyed.

During siesta time, hikers can revel in the wild environment: trying to spot exciting bird species on the Olifants River's banks, photographing the picturesque surroundings, soaking up the African sun... After siesta time, only a short hike will cover the last remaining kilometres to the overnight camp. Whatever option you choose, siesta time is your time to enjoy nature.

Fires are set up each night, but only for social and safety reasons, not cooking. Firewood will be used sparingly, and hikers are advised to bring gas stoves for cooking. As the trail follows the Olifants River, there is adequate water suitable for drinking. However, purification tablets (chlorine) are necessary.

The landscape is characterised by rugged veld and rocky areas. Magnificent species of large trees, such as Apple Leaf and Sycamore Fig, are found in these parts. This backpacking trail requires hikers to cover 10-15 km each day, carrying heavy packs. Therefore, a reasonable amount of fitness is required, and participants must present a medical certificate that proves they are fit and in good health.

The trail leader is a qualified and armed field guide, assisted by a second armed guide, for additional peace of mind. The guides will carry basic first aid kits, but no medicine. It is the responsibility of all hikers to take along their own supplies of general/prescription medicine.


The departure point is from Letaba Rest Camp.

  • Situated on the banks of the Olifants river this wilderness area is very popular as it offers remote valleys and gorges where the river flows through the Lebombo mountains as well as flat open plains with good game viewing potential.
  • The river is a big attraction especially as both the Olifants and Letaba rivers join before flowing into Mozambique. These rivers are the focal point of the trail experience as it has a lot to offer. Large concentrations of hippo and crocodiles are dominant features.
  • The day is incomplete without the call of fish eagles, ever present on the rivers. Birding as well as a divers plantlife are a big plus for this popular wilderness trail.

Highlights

  • Game viewing on foot 
  • Sleeping under the stars

Itinerary

Fact Sheet:

Guests: 4 minimum & 8 maximum (individual bookings can be made but will need min of four guests to confirm the trail)

Duration: 3 Nights & 4 Days

Operational Period: Departures every Wednesday and Sunday between 1 February and 30 November.

Location: Lonely Bull Wilderness, zoned as a wilderness area according to 2006 Conservation Development Framework (CDF).

Wilderness zones only allow for this kind of product.

The area is vast and scenically beautifully with many natural attributes and therefore will ensure a rewarding experience for all participants.

Staff: Trails Ranger and Assistant

Food: Guests and Guides to provide their own

Water: Collected from natural sources

Toilet: In the bush – wilderness accepted methods (eg. Cat scrape method)

Equipment: Guests to supply their own personal equipment for example sleeping bag, tent, back pack, eating utensils etc.

The Trails Rangers will bring along the following equipment:

  • 3 x 5l Collapsible Buckets
  • 1 x Handheld radio (only for emergencies)
  • 1 x Satellite Phone (only for emergencies)
  • 1 x collapsible shovel
  • 1 x Soil Auger
  • 1 x Emergency First Aid Kit


Sleeping at night: Guests and trails rangers to sleep inside lightweight hiking tent

Transport: Group will be dropped off and collected using existing camp based open vehicles (with off road trailer) & guides in the Nxanatseni south region.

Emergencies: Radio & Satellite communications and Section Rangers will be aware of the area the trail will be operating in.

Age Limit: 12 years - 65 years (Doctors note for over 65’s)

Level of Fitness: Guest must be relatively fit

ABOUT YOUR SAFETY

To attempt this physically demanding hike you will have to be reasonably fit.

All hikers will receive a comprehensive safety briefing before the trail commences. The trail leader is a qualified and armed Trails Ranger assisted by a second armed assistant trails ranger, for additional peace of mind. The group will carry first aid equipment, but will not dispense any medicine. It is strongly advised that hikers take along their own supplies of general and / or prescription medication.

There is no cell phone reception and the trails rangers will only establish communication in medical emergencies. In such instances, hikers will be evacuated from the trail to medical care according to a pre-established medical emergency plan.

Before the start of the trail, hikers will be required to sign an indemnity form. It should be noted that this trail is undertaken at the hiker’s own risk and SANParks will not accept any liability in case of accidents or injuries.

Important information

Operated by: SAN PARKS

What do I need to bring

Equipment and enough food for the duration of the trail are the hiker’s responsibility. It is strongly advised that hikers do not carry more than a quarter of their body weight. As hikers in general tend to overstock, there will be a gear check where you will be weighed with and without your rucksack. Should you exceed the maximum weight, the guide may ask you to leave some items at Mopani Camp.

REMEMBER WHAT YOU TAKE ALONG OU HAVE TO CARRY - NO GLASS ITEMS ARE ALLOWED ON THE TRAIL

CHECKLIST Essential Items

·      Hiking rucksack

·      Lightweight tent

·      Lightweight sleeping bag

·       Water bottles (3 x 1 litre bottles recommended)

·      Cooking and eating utensils

·      Small gas stove with spare gas (no cooking fires)

·      Comfortable hiking shoes (well used to prevent blisters) and spare laces

·      Sufficient clothing & socks, including swim wear and a warm jacket for the cold winter nights

·      Food items (lightweight and remember you have to carry all your rubbish out)

·      Hat, sun block and sunglasses

·      Enviro-friendly toiletries and biodegradable detergent

·      Matches or lighter

·      Water purification tablets

·      Toilet paper

·      Plastic bags for refuse and in case of rain

·      Insect repellent and malaria prophylaxis

·      Own basic medical kit with personal medical requirements (blister kit, allergies)

·      Torch with spare batteries (head light is recommended) Optional Items

·      Pencil and paper

·      Camera and binoculars

·      Isotonic drinks and glucose sweets

·      Slip on shoes to wear at night

·      Needle and thread

·      Mattress pad

·      Fires are made at night but these are not to be used for cooking purposes and are only for social, aesthetic and safety reasons. Firewood will be used sparingly –                     definitely  no “bonfires” will be allowed.

·       Hikers are advised to bring gas stoves for cooking or preparing food. It is recommended to bring light weight and dehydrated food.

·       The trail follows no predetermined route.

·      Water will be collected from natural pools/ pans, seeps and the Letaba River. However, it is necessary to use purification tablets (e.g. chlorine).


 Meet your best friend for the duration of the trail! His name is “Ogre” and he is the auger that will make your body breaks a little easier.Your first toilet stop could be an uncomfortable experience, but Ogre will soon make it routine. Should you feel nature calling, locate Ogre from your fellow hikers who will take it in turns to carry him. The guide will help you secure a suitably safe place out of sight from the rest of the group and sufficiently distant from any water sources to prevent contamination. Use Ogre to drill a hole and take careful aim. When done, remember to burn the toilet paper inside the hole before you fill it with soil.

R 3,500 4 Days , Moderate

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